The 14th World Forestry Congress is taking place in Durban, South Africa this week, hosted by FAO, the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. BGCI is participating to promote how their programs and botanic gardens from around the world are contributing to conservation of forest genetic resources and building forest resilience, both of which are essential in the face of continued forest degradation and loss, and a changing climate.
The plant collections of botanic gardens and the skills of botanic garden staff can contribute to conserving, protecting and restoring the world's forests. For example, BGCI coordinates the Ecological Restoration Alliance of Botanic Gardens (ERA), a global consortium of botanic gardens actively engaged in restoration. ERA members are currently leading projects to restore degraded forests in China, Mexico, Pakistan, Kenya and Uganda. As the World Forestry Congress is hosted on the African continent for the first time, protecting and restoring Africa's forests for biodiversity and livelihoods is a hot topic. BGCI is working with botanic garden partners in Kenya and Uganda to set up restoration demonstration sites, identify top performing indigenous species and develop propagation protocols and best practice guidance to improve restoration practices in East Africa.